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Molecular theory of smectic ordering in liquid crystals with nanoscale segregation of different molecular fragments

Gorkunov, Maxim and Osipov, Mikhail and Kapernaum, Nadja and Nonnenmacher, Dorothee and Giesselmann, Frank (2011) Molecular theory of smectic ordering in liquid crystals with nanoscale segregation of different molecular fragments. Physical Review E: Statistical Physics, Plasmas, Fluids, and Related Interdisciplinary Topics, 84 (5). ISSN 1063-651X

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Abstract

A molecular statistical theory of the smectic A phase is developed taking into account specific interactions between different molecular fragments which enables one to describe different microscopic scenario of the transition into the smectic phase. The effects of nanoscale segregation are described using molecular models with different combinations of attractive and repulsive sites. These models have been used to calculate numerically coefficients in the mean filed potential as functions of molecular model parameters and the period of the smectic structure. The same coefficients are calculated also for a conventional smectic with standard Gay-Berne interaction potential which does not promote the segregation. The free energy is minimized numerically to calculate the order parameters of the smectic A phases and to study the nature of the smectic transition in both systems. It has been found that in conventional materials the smectic order can be stabilized only when the orientational order is sufficiently high, In contrast, in materials with nanosegregation the smectic order develops mainly in the form of the orientational-translational wave while the nematic order parameter remains relatively small. Microscopic mechanisms of smectic ordering in both systems are discussed in detail, and the results for smectic order parameters are compared with experimental data for materials of various molecular structure.